Adobe has announced Visual Communicator 3, which enables teachers, lecturers and students to easily create scripted, television-quality broadcasts. Designed for those new to video, the company says that the software is ideal for project-based learning, distance learning courses and campus-wide newscasts.

A beta version can be downloaded from the Adobe Labs Web site. This is the first major upgrade to Visual Communicator since Adobe acquired it from Serious Magic in 2006, alongside the rest of that company's products and technologies.

The new version features simplified templates and wizards to give inexperienced users the ability to create professional video presentations that can be streamed live over the Internet in the FLV format using Flash Media Server software, or output to a projector, television, or Channel One Closed-Circuit System.

"For tomorrow's broadcast professionals, Visual Communicator delivers a fast-track to the quality of results seen every night on television news reports," said Mark Randall, chief strategist, Dynamic Media at Adobe.

Visual Communicator 3 doesn't have a traditional timeline, which aims to make video production faster and easier. Enhancements include new set-up wizards, drag-and-drop animated templates and an interactive "Coach" that gets users up and running quickly. Users can preview up to three cameras at once while recording or presenting live with the mini-switcher feature to create interview-style videos in real time. In addition, a full-screen teleprompter allows the presenter to read scripts from a distance.

"Visual Communicator 3 allows me to teach students as young as 10-years-old how to independently create video presentations within minutes," said Rob Zdrojewski, technology educator at Amherst Middle School in Buffalo, NY and director for Amherst Tech TV. "The new templates and wizards in Visual Communicator 3 will enable students to get up-to-speed even faster and with less initial instruction. With the increased use of technology in today's schools, Visual Communicator is also a great way to make static classroom presentations more visually appealing and engaging."

Visual Communicator 3 runs on Windows and will ship in Autumn 2007. It costs £279 plus VAT, with upgrades costing £105 plus VAT. Education customers can purchase the software for £119 plus VAT.